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Blu-ray Review: Bad Moon

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There’s been plenty of werewolf tales over the decades, but rarely do you get the werewolf story told through the eyes of a creature that also has a wolf connection. Bad Moon‘s main character isn’t a the tragic character who deals with being bit by a werewolf and transformed. Nor is it the victim who has that werewolf on their trail. It’s not even human. The movie was adapted from the novel Thor which let readers know that the family dog is the main character. Of course a movie studio can’t release a film called Thor without the Marvel character would get the comic book geeks angry. Bad Moon won’t make anyone feel ripped off since it delivers in a tale of a boy, his dog and a werewolf.

High in the wilds of Nepal, photographer Ted Harrison (Streets of Fire‘s Michael ParĂ©) and his girlfriend retreat to their tent for a little cosmic bonding. Their local guides don’t mind seeing the tent go a rocking. But the tent rocks extra hard when a massive creature attack and tears apart the girlfriend, Ted kills the creature, but takes a hit himself. Months later Ted is living in the wilds of Washington state near a lake. But he can’t stay in isolation and contacts his sister Janet (Star 80‘s Mariel Hemingway) and her son Brett (Dennis the Menace‘s Mason Gamble). They come out for a meal and bring along their dog Thor (Primo). The humans are delighted to see him. Thor senses something is up with his old pal. He retreats into the woods and sniffs out something hanging off the branches that aren’t squirrels or moss. The uncovered carnage makes Janet want her brother to stay in her backyard with his trailer for safety sake. Things are up since at night, Ted likes to go for a jog with a pair of handcuffs and other restraints. Thor knows something is up except this German Shepherd isn’t quite Lassie. He has no skill in letting Janet or Brett to know they are going to get eaten by Ted during the full moon. How will they get a clue?

Bad Moon is a different approach to a werewolf film. With a running time of only 79 minutes, this variation has a chance to play out without exhausting the audience. Pare holds it together as the trouble man who gets nervous as the stars come out. Mason Gamble gets a chance to show he was an amazingly talented child actor. He should have had a bigger role in Rushmore. In this film, he does quite a bit of heavy work allowing Thor to seem a bit more thespian as a dog. Muriel Hemingway is the glue to the story as she has to worry about her brother and protect her son. The werewolf effects are quite fine and lives up to the creatures found in American Werewolf in Paris a year later. Bad Moon‘s theatrical release was so small that I have no memory of it being released on Nov. 1, 1996. I do have memories of the VHS cassette lurking on the shelves at Blockbuster. Now it is finally being released on a Blu-ray that allows its small story to be shown large. You will believe a loyal dog can protect you from a brutal werewolf.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic which gives great views of the woods around the family house. The transfer makes the werewolf effects look fine. The audio is 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio. You’ll jump at a few twigs snapping in the woods. There’s also the 2.0 DTS HD Master Audio of the original mix. The movie is subtitled.

Director’s Cut is barely longer than the original cut. The difference is found at the end of the film.

Commentary with Director Eric Red allows him to give his approach to a werewolf film. He admits to lying about the nudity in one scene. He appears to be speaking from typed up memories of the shoot. He breaks down so much of the production.

Nature of the Beast – Making of Bad Moon (35:17) lets director, crew and cast discuss their werewolf film. Michael Pare signed up quick because he was eager to transform into a werewolf. The film was dumped by the studio on the day after Halloween in 100 theaters without any hype. Mason Gamble tells a great tale about meeting a fan of the movie.

Unrated Opening Sequence (6:07) has a lot more flesh and grinding in the tent. This is why the movie originally got an NC-17. Sadly the footage appears to be a medium resolution dupe from the editing hard drive.

Theatrical Trailer (1:06) appears to be taken from the VHS release seeing how the real theatrical was so limited.

Transformation Sequence Storyboards (6:30) shows how he went from man to wolf with his sister watching. It’s rather detailed to give a sense of the make up beats.

Thor/Werewolf Fight Storyboards (9:40) has a lot of shattering in the ink drawings.

Thor Stares Down Uncle Ted Storyboards (4:15) sets up the protective nature of the dog.

Scream Factory presents Bad Moon. Directed by: Eric Red. Screenplay by: Eric Red. Starring: Mariel Hemingway, Michael Pare, Mason Gamble & Primo. Running Time: 79 minutes. Rated: R. Released: July 19, 2016.

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